Dante's Inferno – the book gets a makeover

…I’m not quite sure what to make of all of this.

Electronic Arts and bookish types Random House have apparently teamed up to print up a shiny new edition of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, which forms one-third of The Divine Comedy. The new edition of the book ties in pretty seriously to the upcoming video game, featuring an all-new introduction from Jonathan Knight, Executive Producer on Dante’s Inferno, packed full of details on how the team adapted the epic poem into – of all things – a video game.

Book Cover for Dante's Inferno

(Click to enlarge)

If all those words get a little much, there’s also a 16-page art insert, showing off (in full colour!) how the environments and characters have evolved.

Mr. Knight himself gushes a bit:

“We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Random House on this project. Through the creative process of developing this game, we have grown quite close to the literary works of Dante Alighieri. It is his vision that we are adapting for this new media, and new audience.

“The game is a celebration of Dante, and we hope gamers will be encouraged to go beyond the game and explore the classic text that has inspired us so deeply.”

Del Rey Books is (wait for it) an imprint of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, and is now well known in the realms of “modern fantasy, science fiction and alternate history”… and video game tie-ins.

Michael Braff, one of the editorial team, is also a bit pleased with the project:

“Visceral Games and EA have provided us with an amazing opportunity to bring one of the great works of classical fiction to a new group of fans.

“Their stunning and inventive take on Dante’s Inferno will be sure to wow players around the world and we are extremely proud to be able to provide those individuals with insight into the creative processes involved in adapting Dante to a new medium.”

Given that I’m awfully picky when it comes to cover art, I’m wondering whether or not Random House are going to reprint the other two canticas that make up The Divine Comedy in a similar style, or if we’re going to be lumped with this monstrosity sitting alone next to the more sedate copies of Purgatorio and Paradiso

Screenshot from Dante's Inferno

She may or may not be featured in the book

Also, it’s probably worth noting that if you want to brush up on your Italian literature, text-only copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy abound on the internets for your reading pleasure. In fact, if you want a sneaky peek at the version EA are using, check out the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation. First published back in 1882, it now settles quite comfortably in the public domain.

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